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What Are Clam Pots?

By Valerie Clark
Updated May 16, 2024
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A clam pot is a large steamer used to prepare clams, lobsters, crabs and other foods. Some people use clam pots to make one-pot meals in which clams, other seafood and vegetables are cooked simultaneously. The most common size is a 19-quart (18-liter) pot that comes with a steamer basket and a lid.

The best clam pots include a boiler vessel in the bottom of the pot as well as a large container for the food. Clam pots are versatile and are considered a must-have by many seafood lovers who like to steam fresh clams, lobsters or crabs at home. Pot sizes range from 11 to 24 quarts (10.4 to 22.7 liters). A turkey fryer can be converted into a clam pot by purchasing a separate wire basket insert.

Some manufacturers make clam pots that have a faucet coming out from the bottom boiler section. This is an added feature that makes it easier to drain the clam broth. The drained clam broth is not thrown out, however. Instead, it is often saved and served alongside a basket of steamed clams.

When serving only one or two people, clams can be steamed in a skillet and the clam broth can be drained off. Otherwise, clam pots are ideal for making large batches of steamed clams for a party or event. Most recipes recommend littleneck clams but there are several types of clams from which to choose. One can buy them fresh and in bulk from a local seafood market.

Before cooking the clams, one should thoroughly wash them in a bowl of water. The next step is to check for dead clams by tapping on the shell; if the shell does not open, it should be thrown out. Only live clams with open shells should be kept and prepared.

When using a steamer pot for the first time, one should avoid putting too much water in the boiler area. If the pot doesn’t have a dedicated boiler section, the water goes directly into the bottom of the pot. It should not take more than 10 minutes to steam the clams, though, the bigger they are, the longer they take to steam.

Clams have long been a popular meal in the U.S., especially in coastal areas. There are a variety of ways to cook clams, even if a clam pot is not available. Clams can be steamed, deep fried or sautéed. The general recipe includes from 1 to 2 pounds (0.45 to 0.9 kg) of clams per serving, butter, garlic and onion to taste. For extra protein and flavor, some recipes add sausage, salt and pepper, and dry white wine to the mix.

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